Microsoft is taking steps to unify the development of apps for Windows Phone and Windows RT devices — making it much easier for developers to target both platforms from the same code — according to leaked information about Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 software development kit.
The move would help Windows Phone and Windows RT app developers access a larger potential market, potentially boosting both Microsoft’s Windows Phone and ARM-based Windows RT tablets (such as Microsoft’s Surface 2 and the Lumia 2520) in the process. Microsoft needs more compelling apps on both platforms as it tries gain ground on iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablets.
An anonymous developer with early access to the SDK has been sharing the information on Reddit, writing that the new “universal apps” feature of the SDK “is a template to build both WinStore and WinPhone apps from the same solution sharing code more easily (HTML/JScript).”
The move is not a surprise, having been signaled by Microsoft operating systems chief Terry Myerson dating back to Microsoft’s financial analyst meeting last year. At the time he outlined three “key beliefs” for what was then the newly formed operating systems group.
“The first of those is that we really should have one silicon interface for all of our devices,” said Myerson at the time. “We should have one set of developer APIs on all of our devices. And all of the apps we bring to end users should be available on all of our devices.”